Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.

Archives

Categories

Get a weekly update in your email




June 2020

Migration will increase at the border again. Don’t freak out.

Here’s a new, forward-looking analysis that I wrote with several of my colleagues at WOLA, working on it bit by bit over the past month.

The target audience for this are people who will be in policymaking positions after Election Day, and after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Most of these people won’t want to keep the cruel and illegal Trump border and migration policies in place. But some of them might be tempted to leave them in place for a while, for fear of facing a “tsunami” of migration at the border.

That’s not necessary, we argue here. Through inexpensive, low-drama strategies that don’t fit on a bumper sticker, the U.S. government can manage migration at its southern border in an orderly, humane way.

It’s about ports of entry and processing, alternatives to detention, functioning immigration courts, rule of law assistance in Central America, and asylum capacity in Mexico.

Read more here. We’ll be slicing-and-dicing these arguments in order to get them in front of audiences that don’t have time to read more than a single page of bullet points.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Carolyn Cole photo at The Los Angeles Times. Caption: “Nayda Alvarez has painted a message on the roof of her home. She is in the fight of her life to prevent the border wall from being built in her backyard.”

(Even more here)

June 30, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

I just walked into a very crowded city, it’s dark in there, and you very quickly realized that you are on your own

Preble, along with a detachment from “Easyriders” from Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 37, deployed in March 2020 to conduct U.S. Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force South’s enhanced counter-narcotics operations missions

Colombia

SEMANA conoció que una niña de 15 años de la comunidad nukak makú habría sido abusada sexualmente durante varios días por un grupo de uniformados, en septiembre del año pasado

Con esta herramienta que se les otorgó después del acuerdo de paz, los exguerrilleros han podido unirse y crear sus proyectos productivos, además de equipar sus antiguos ETCR

Yo creo que Colombia puede dejar un precedente histórico, una hoja de ruta de un diálogo plural y pluralista en torno a la verdad con una activa participación de las Fuerzas Armadas

La Asociación de Campesinos del Catatumbo ASCAMCAT denunció una presunta ejecución extrajudicial del joven Salvador Jaime Durán, quien recibió 5 impactos de arma larga en el sitio conocido como Caño Totumo en la vereda Filoguamo, Teorama

Entre los que podrían ser sancionados con la separación del partido se encuentran dirigentes del calibre de Benedicto González, Jesús Emilio Carvajalino (Andrés París), Ubaldo Enrique Zúñiga (Pablo Atrato) y José Benito Cabrera (Fabián Ramírez)

Cuba

En Cuba el racismo está arraigado a la cultura y forma parte de la estructura social, ni siquiera la “revolución” de Fidel Castro pudo despojarlo

Guatemala

Las últimas acciones del Congreso en el tema de elección de Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) y Cortes de Apelaciones han enviado un mensaje de alarma sobre quiénes podrían llegar a ocupar las magistraturas de este poder del Estado

Guatemala, Honduras

Este mes se entregaron a la justicia estadounidense y podrían ser testigos del soborno entregado en 2013 por el capo mexicano para la campaña del presidente de Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández

Honduras

  • Victor Meza, Aniversario (Criterio (Honduras), June 30, 2020).

Con este acto, tan cobarde como delirante, los militares, debidamente estimulados por las élites económicas, políticas y religiosas del país, abrieron la puerta para que su patria se sumiera en una crisis institucional y política, cuyas consecuencias sufrimos todos todavía

Honduras’ congress has passed a new criminal code that lowers the sentence for corruption and drug trafficking cases, among other controversial measures

Mexico

El analista Alejandro Hope señaló que “suponer que el Ejército se va a subordinar a la Guardia Nacional es francamente de risa”

  • Informe: Romper el Miedo (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Chiapas, Mexico), June 30, 2020).

El presente informe, recoge la sistematización de la situación a la que se enfrentan las comunidades y personas en su lucha por la defensa de sus derechos humanos en Chiapas

Desde 2018, el CJNG figura en la lista de organizaciones criminales trasnacionales, específicamente dentro de las cinco prioridades del Gobierno estadounidense

Si esta descripción de los cárteles como ecosistema para freelancers es básicamente correcta y las autoridades saben que más o menos operan de ese modo, ¿por qué la insistencia de describirlas como grandes organizaciones jerárquicas?

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday brushed off critics of his planned visit to Washington

Una reunión bilateral con Trump corre el riesgo, quizá más serio que los frecuentemente mencionados, de que, atrapado en la boca del lobo, AMLO sea presionado para arrancarle concesiones

U.S.-Mexico Border

Since the start of the pandemic in mid-January, federal crews have built two miles of new wall, in California and Texas, and replaced 93 miles of border fence nationwide, for a total of 191 miles of new and replacement wall

Human rights groups worry that the damage done will outlast the pandemic

In May, officials at the southern border carried out 1,001 arrests of unaccompanied children, who are encountered without parents or legal guardians. However, only 39 of these migrant minors were transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement

The day ahead: June 30, 2020

I should be reachable much of the day. (How to contact me)

I’m meeting-free and trying to catch up on several pending commitments on this last day of June. I should be reachable if needed.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

EFE/ Myke Sena photo at El Comercio (Peru). Caption: “Los bolsonaristas, como son conocidos los seguidores más radicales del líder ultraderechista, realizaron sus actos frente a la sede de la Presidencia y frente al Cuartel General del Ejército y volvieron a exhibir pancartas en las que defienden actos antidemocráticos como el cierre del Congreso y de la Corte Suprema.”

(Even more here)

June 29, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

The senator tries to block a nominee to the Inter-American Development Bank

Bolivia

El rechazo permanente del ascenso de los generales en el Senado tiene un alto ingrediente político, revelaron hoy jefes militares que se contactaron con EL DEBER, porque en su criterio no figuran los jefes militares que eran afines al gobierno de Evo Morales

Fernando López envió una misiva al comandante en jefe de las FF.AA., Sergio Orellana, advirtiendo que el exmandatario puso el foco en la institución castrense

Officials say that anti-drug trafficking efforts have improved under interim President Jeanine Áñez. But the facts don’t back up the claim

Brazil

Folha de São Paulo urges people who support campaign to protect country’s political future to wear yellow

Some 75% of Brazilians support the country’s current democracy, a poll by Datafolha released on Sunday showed, while just 10% of citizens support a dictatorship

Dos pequeños grupos de bolsonaristas realizaron este domingo manifestaciones en Brasilia en las que defendieron una “intervención militar” en Brasil, en un día en que se multiplicaron las protestas contra el presidente brasileño

Central America Regional

Two books expose how U.S. policy has ravaged the Northern Triangle

Colombia

Los siete militares que esta semana violaron a una niña indígena hacían parte de un pelotón también llamado Buitre. No fueron llevados a una cárcel regular, están en una guarnición militar

A tres años de la dejación de armas de las Farc, el Estado se olvidó de ella y ahora las disidencias la controlan

La mujer de 39 años, integrante del resguardo indígena Avirama y quien hacía parte el proyecto “PazAdentro”, fue asesinada este 26 de junio

En 2018 registraron 169.000 hectáreas de cultivos de coca; durante ese año se erradicaron militarmente 94.000 hectáreas y al final la disminución neta en área fue de 15.000 hectáreas

En lo que va del año, 219 niños han sido rescatados de las filas de grupos criminales. Así se los llevan

Mexico

El despliegue de autoridades federales en la franja donde se asienta la empresa canadiense Lea Gold se realizó entre el 16 y 17 de junio, y se excluyó a las corporaciones estatales para “mantener en sigilo la investigación”

Un discurso vibrante la consagraba como un símbolo del golpeado colectivo trans. Menos de un año después desapareció entre sombras en Ciudad de México

The gunmen shot .50-caliber weapons at the SUV carrying Omar García Harfuch, Mexico City’s secretary of public security, in one of the capital’s most exclusive neighborhoods

Además, 281 policías han sido asesinados en todo el país

Habitantes del municipio de Aquila en el estado de Michoacán en México reportaron el ataque contra un grupo criminal relacionado al narcotráfico, conocido como Los Pulido en la comunidad de Huahua

Nicaragua

Era estudiante de la Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería en 2018, cuando estallaron las protestas estudiantiles. Estaba terminando el quinto año de Ingeniería Civil y me expulsaron cuando me uní a las protestas. Casi muero allí esos primeros días

U.S.-Mexico Border

Advocates point to border barriers collapsing in recent years near Lukeville and Nogales. Debris built up against the barriers during rainstorms, causing enough pressure to knock over the barriers and send torrents of water through nearby areas

An increase in cross-border coronavirus cases, which began getting public attention in May, overwhelmed some California hospitals and spurred the state to create a new patient transfer system to help

Venezuela

La crisis política de Venezuela parece estar en un impasse con la oposición adormecida y el régimen solidificando sus bases

The first task for a Biden administration would be to take military intervention off the table. While the idea that negotiation needs to be backed up by a credible threat of force seems intuitive, in practice it divides the Venezuelan opposition

COVID-19 Border Closure Could Lead to Jump in Migrant Deaths in Summer Months

While going through the latest border numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), I found something alarming.

  • Even though the U.S.-Mexico border is effectively closed, with U.S. authorities expelling nearly all Mexicans and Central Americans right back into Mexico, apprehensions of migrants jumped from April to May.
  • The increase in migration is entirely single adults, mostly from Mexico.
  • For the most part, single adults are not seeking asylum. Instead of trying to be apprehended, they’re trying to evade Border Patrol.
  • “Trying to evade” means migrating through some of the most dangerous parts of the border area, where a lot of migrants die of dehydration and exposure.
  • The numbers of single adults are rising just as we hit the hottest and deadliest months of the summer in the borderlands’ deserts.

I wrote this up as a brief, graphical analysis on WOLA’s website. Look at the overlap between the border sectors seeing the most single adult migrants, and the sectors that have been deadliest since 1998. People are going to die.

Read more here.

The day ahead: June 29, 2020

I’m around in the afternoon. (How to contact me)

I’m significantly (but far from completely) caught up on work that was impossible to do before my broken wrist was operated on and while it was in a cast. Expect some new writing over the next several days.

This is a holiday week in the United States, with everything closed on Friday. On Wednesday afternoon, I’m headed to New York to (distantly) visit relatives whom we haven’t seen in many months, though I’ll still be “on the clock” for much of that time.

Today I’m in internal meetings and have a media interview until early afternoon, after which I’ll be free and going through a long list of pending website updates and still-unanswered emails.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Eric Gay/AP photo at Military Times. Caption: “Troops install multiple tiers of concertina wire along the banks of the Rio Grande near the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas. The Pentagon announced Thursday it would decrease its contribution of forces from 5,500 to 4,000.”

(Even more here)

June 26, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

If the 1930s and the 1980s are any guide, the current slump may prompt regime change

It would eliminate a practice dating back to the 1970s of informally notifying Congress of planned arms sales well in advance, so that lawmakers and congressional staffers, the State Department, and Pentagon officials can hash out concerns

Electing Mr. Claver-Carone to a five-year term just weeks before the U.S. presidential election, coupled with his unpopularity with some Members of Congress, including key members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, would not bode well for United States support for the Bank

“Asylum seekers who are concerned about homelessness during the pendency of their employment authorization waiting period should become familiar with the homelessness resources provided by the state where they intend to reside”

Two of the court’s liberals dissented, and the other two agreed only with the outcome in the specific case

Brazil

  • Marco Hernandez, Simon Scarr, Anthony Boadle, The Threatened Tribe (Reuters, Reuters, June 26, 2020).

Satellite images show how a lust for gold is damaging Brazil’s remote Amazon

With local officials now lifting quarantines despite continued growth in cases, it’s conceivable that, when Covid-19 finally recedes, Brazil will have been hit harder than any other country

Colombia

Luego de meses de investigación se logró tener acceso a un archivo de investigación oficial sobre un presunto caso de tráfico de armas que involucra a la Cuarta Brigada del Ejército

Este tipo de hechos se suma a escándalos de corrupción, chuzadas ilegales, seguimientos irregulares a periodistas, políticos y otras personas, que han estallado recientemente

¿Hacia dónde va el discurso de indignación institucional si con un juego de palabras pareciese que pretenden evadir la gravedad de lo cometido por el Ejército?

Infiere, según el trino y el retuit que ella hace, que se trataría de un falso positivo para afectar la imagen de la institución militar

Hablamos con Deivin Hurtado, vocero de la Coordinadora Nacional de Cultivadores de Coca, Amapola y Marihuana (COCCAM); quien explicó el estado de la sustitución voluntaria en Colombia a la luz de tres factores de riesgo

Tom Laffay’s documentary “Siona” offers a ten-minute closeup look into the courageous demining work that Mera and her group are undertaking for the well-being of the Siona people

Guatemala

Un video recuperado por el MP demuestra que la víctima ya estaba sometida cuando recibió un disparo en la cabeza. Las imágenes contradicen la versión del parte oficial

Honduras

The United States would be prudent to avoid sharing counter narcotics intelligence with the President of Honduras, someone who could be tied to drug traffickers, according to prosecutors in New York

Mexico

La Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena) mostró preocupación por su reputación en materia de derechos humanos y por el trato hacia la ciudadanía, por ese motivo implementaron capacitaciones

Sostiene que ante esta “problemática” se requiere impulsar un liderazgo que priorice la disciplina militar y privilegie la moral del personal y el bienestar de sus familias

“Los recientes hechos de muerte y dolor en la zona, nos dan razones suficientes para preocuparnos por nuestra integridad, somos los más pequeños, los más indefensos y los más alejados de esta franja costera”

El Secretario reveló que en la entidad se tiene presencia del Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), Guerreros Unidos, Los Caballeros Templarios y La Familia Michoacana y destacó la existencia de posibles alianzas entre ellos

López Obrador said he would travel to Washington in early July to mark the start of the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. But the timing has raised questions in Mexico

Buena parte de la comunidad mexicana se sentiría abandonada por nuestro gobierno ante los ataques racistas de funcionarios estadounidenses, si no hay respuesta de nuestro gobierno

El ex asesor del ex Presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama para América Latina, Dan Restrepo, y el ex asesor para América Latina del candidato presidencial Joe Biden, Juan S. González, criticaron la visita

Top Mexican American leaders, think tank groups and even former Mexican diplomats used words such as “a huge mistake” to describe the planned meeting. Others called López Obrador a “fraud”

U.S.-Mexico Border

Effectively, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell confirmed to Military Times, that means about 1,000 troops are going home

“It’s never mentioned anymore — the wall is never mentioned anymore,” Trump said during a roundtable in Yuma

The country’s top border official expects a dramatic rise in the number of migrants who flee home countries in Mexico and Central America

Venezuela

In a new report co-published with Foro Penal, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights documents how Venezuela’s Bolivarian regime has strategically used enforced disappearances to silence political opponents and other critical voices

Leopoldo López, founder of Mr. Guaidó’s former political party, and other allies considered at least six proposals from private security contractors to carry out military incursions

With a legislative election due by December, this month the regime took two big steps to ensure it will not lose

What a dramatic geographic difference over 2 months

Of the top 20 states for new COVID-19 cases, 9 weren’t on the list 2 months ago, and 6 more have moved sharply up the list.

For decades, people will be studying the decisions the United States made right now and wondering why we acted the way we did.

It’s not about “those red states.” It’s just unspeakably sad.

WOLA Podcast: Demining sacred space in Colombia’s Amazon basin

Nice to have a podcast coincide with a short film’s debut on the New Yorker website. Congratulations to Tom Laffay for this piece of work. The WOLA podcast page is here.

Tom Laffay is an American filmmaker based in Bogotá, recipient of the inaugural 2020 Andrew Berends Fellowship. In 2018, his short film, Nos están matando (They’re killing us), which exposed the plight of Colombian social leaders, reached the halls of the U.S. Congress and the United Nations in Geneva.

This film was commissioned by The New Yorker and supported by The Pulitzer Center.

In this edition of WOLA’s podcast, Laffay discusses his new short film, Siona: Amazon’s Defenders Under Threat. The New Yorker featured it on its website on June 25, 2020. Laffay follows Siona Indigenous leader Adiela Mera Paz in Putumayo, Colombia, as she works to demine her ancestral territory to make it possible for her people displaced by the armed conflict to return. Though the armed conflict with the FARC may have officially ended, the Siona people not only face post-conflict risks, they also face threats from extractive companies. In the episode, Laffay describes the history of the Siona people and their territory, their relationship with yagé, and the courageous work undertaken by leaders like Adiela Mera Paz.

Listen above, or download the .mp3 file.

WOLA Podcast: Challenges and Tools for Latin America’s Struggle for Equality

The defense of LGBT rights in Latin America is a topic to which I’ve paid insufficient attention. I’m glad that Carlos Quesada of Race and Equality was able to record this WOLA podcast with me, which I posted on Tuesday. Here’s the text from WOLA’s website.

Carlos Quesada, director of the International Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights, guides us through the challenges faced by Latin America’s LGBT communities and other marginalized groups. He also explains how laws, treaties, and the Inter-American system offer tools for change—or survival.

We discuss cultural and political challenges to winning rights and recognition, basic obstacles to gaining basic protections, an ongoing backlash in some countries, and concerns about the effects of COVID-19 response and changes in U.S. policy. More encouragingly, we talk about how Race and Equality brings technical assistance to partners in the region, helping them use the tools offered by their governments’ legal and international commitments, particularly through the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights.

Listen above or download the .mp3 file here.

Cast is off—regular posting should resume tomorrow

Surgery was 6 days ago; look at those gnarly x-rays of the metal plate holding my radius bone together with 11 screws. I’m only in pain if I twist it the wrong way or lift something too heavy. Nothing now, as I type.

And yes, I can type now, as the doctor took that big cast off my arm this afternoon. I have to wear a brace for the next six weeks and that’s it.

Now that I can type and use a mouse, I look forward to posting here on a more or less regular basis again.

Wearing this until Wednesday

On Thursday I had a metal plate screwed into the broken radius bone of my right wrist. Today (Saturday) I’m in only modest pain, but I’ll have this cast on my right arm until Wednesday.

I’m right handed, so don’t expect much from me that requires a keyboard for the next few days. On Wednesday, I should be going back to a brace that lets me use my fingers.

Thanks to the folks at Georgetown University Hospital who made it look easy on Thursday. I was in and out in less than 6 hours, 2 of them spent totally unconscious.

The day ahead: June 18, 2020

I’m totally unavailable today and tomorrow (Friday). (How to contact me)

I’m off to the hospital shortly to have my broken wrist operated on. It’s an outpatient procedure, but they’ll be knocking me out completely and I’ll be there all day. Wish me luck.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

June 17, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

>

The U.S. plans to nominate a White House official who was an architect of tightening sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba to lead Latin America’s main development bank

Brazil

Brazil’s top court on Tuesday granted police permission to inspect financial and phone records of federal lawmakers allied with President Jair Bolsonaro as part of a probe into anti-democratic rallies, a source with direct knowledge of the ruling said

Chile

Helicópteros de combate Black Hawk, aviones de transporte táctico C-130 Hércules, buques anfibios de desembarco de tropas y decenas de hospitales de campaña forman parte del contingente militar

Colombia

>

>

>

>

La violencia también desplaza masivamente a excombatientes de Farc

>

>

>

Cuba

>

El Salvador

Mexico

Tuvo en sus manos el caso del líder de Los Zetas, Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, El Z-40, así como de los implicados en el homicidio del cardenal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo y de integrantes del CJNG

Mara Gómez reconoce que la institución es golpeada por los ajustes presupuestales y falta de capacidad del personal; trabaja en un nuevo modelo administrativo, dice

Mexico, U.S.-Mexico Border

Both countries announced the decision on Tuesday ahead of a Monday deadline to extend, end or modify the border restrictions

Suriname

Surinamese President Desi Bouterse, a former military ruler who has dominated the country’s politics in recent decades, lost last month’s national election, the country’s electoral authority said on Tuesday after three weeks verifying the vote

U.S.-Mexico Border

According to a Mother Jones analy­sis of government contracts, the Trump administration has so far doled out over $9 billion to build about 585 miles of wall—285 miles of replacement fencing and 300 miles of new construction

Venezuela

Nicolás Maduro’s regime stripped the license of one of the country’s largest parties and handed control to a pro-government ally, the latest in a string of measures to further weaken the opposition

The day ahead: June 17, 2020

I’ll be hard to reach today, and completely out Thursday and Friday. (How to contact me)

I go in to the hospital tomorrow for surgery on my broken wrist, so today is my last day on the job this week. I’ve got 3 internal meetings and a coalition strategy meeting, plus a few loose ends to tie up before tomorrow, so I’ll be difficult to contact.

Older Posts
Get a weekly update in your e-mail:




This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.